1868: The President On Trial

I’m now ready to write this much-delayed blog post which will conclude August’s series on the Reconstruction Era. Rest assured, I plan to revisit the era in 2018 and address more details. This week’s delay (sorry!) was caused because I was determined to finish the book I was reading about Johnson’s impeachment trial; I wanted to make sure I was sharing accurate information and discovered that I no longer agreed with the source I had intended to reference for facts.

Today’s post is an overview. If you want a more in-depth study, I’d recommend David O. Stewart’s book Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson And The Fight For Lincoln’s Legacy. That was the book I couldn’t stop reading once I got it the study. Continue reading

Reconstruction? The President, Constitution, States, & Congress

The Reconstruction Era is complex. The historical figures, thought processes, opinions, and situations often seem distant and a little unknown to us. The struggles of rebuilding and even re-imaging the United States after the Civil War brought the ideologies from the battlefields to the state capitals, the White House, and the Congressional chambers.

Today we’ll talk about the situation in the very beginning years of Reconstruction, focusing on Andrew Johnson, Constitution interpretations, new state governments, and Congress’s views. Continue reading

1861: “Nothing, But Resistance To Rebellion Can Save Us”

Gazette665 Blog Series 1861: In Their Words

 May 21st, 1861, Elmira, N.Y.

Dear Father & Mother,

Your letters have both been received. I was much grieved at the sad tone of both. Of course we all deprecate war. But since the question of our existence as a nation seems to hang upon a thread, and in case a dissolution takes place war is inevitable. I say let it come when we are best prepared and when we have the national prestige and resources to back us…. What is our government good for if it cannot maintain itself. If the people are to rule in any locality they must do it by majorities. And if it those majorities are to be successfully set a defiance by [?] then the experiment of self-government is at an end. I say we have a greater cause for which to battle now than did our revolutionary sires. They fought against taxation without representation. We fight for the doctrine of self-government.

Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton: Founding Father

Today, we are pleased to welcome guest author, Nathan Bierle! Nathan has been studying U.S. Government and part of his class included “A Patriot Project.” This special assignment requires students to study the life of an American Founding Father, with the goal of learning about his life and moral beliefs.

Nathan chose to research Alexander Hamilton and discovered some interesting facts about this American leader. Nathan admitted that with the resources he had available, it was a little challenging to discover precise details regarding Hamilton’s religious/moral beliefs, but I think he has drawn some insightful conclusions, based on the information he found.

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton – Patriot Project

By Nathan Bierle

(Edited for publication by Miss Sarah)

Examining the life of one of our Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, we can see how biblical values played an important role in early American history. Throughout his life, Hamilton held a high moral and ethical standard. This made him a great leader both on the battlefield and in government.

Early Life Alexander Hamilton was born on the Lesser Antilles island of Nevis. Most historians think he was born in 1757, but there is no direct evidence as to when he was born. He grew up on the island where he was born. Hamilton’s father left his mother when he was ten, so he started working at his mother’s store on the island. Since he did not have enough money to go to school he taught himself as much as he could by reading. When Hamilton was twelve his mother died of an island disease, so he went and became an apprentice with a trader based in New York. After making some money working for the trader and moving to New York, Alexander Hamilton attended Kings College in New York. At college he studied math, Latin, and anatomy.

War Years Shortly after he got out of college the American Revolution began so he joined the American army and became a captain of artillery. After proving himself a good leader at the battles of Princeton and Trenton, Hamilton became an aide to General George Washington.

For his role as first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton is currently featured on the $10 bill (U.S. Currency)

For his role as first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton is currently featured on the $10 bill (U.S. Currency)

American Politics At the end of the war, he married Betsey Schuyler, the daughter of a rich merchant, and had eight children. He also became a lawyer and got into politics in New York during this time. After being in politics for a little while, he became one of the New York representatives at the Constitutional Convention. During that time he was one of the key people writing the Federalist Papers. After George Washington became president, Alexander Hamilton was appointed the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury; in this position, he saved our economy after the revolution. After serving as Secretary of the Treasury for three years 1788-1791, he stayed in government until his death in 1804. He died of a fatal gunshot wound after his duel with Aaron Burr.

Hamilton_Trumbull_1792Religious/Moral Beliefs After a brief study of Hamilton’s life, it is difficult to know exactly what he thought about the Bible and the influence its principles should have in government. We do know that in his youth Hamilton was raised in a Presbyterian church, but he seemed to run out of time for religion after his college years. When Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, he was a Deist – he believed there is a god that made everything, but that that god has just let everything go its own way. From his writings it appears that Hamilton believed that religion was only a moral standard, instead of a warning of judgment on those who disobey. Although it would appear that he was not a committed Christian, he did have good morals; for example, as a lawyer he chose to not worry about popularity, but to do what was right by defending former Loyalists in court. Another example is something he said, “A promise must never be broken.” This shows he knew the importance of honesty in government. Even though he was not a very religious man, it is obvious that he knew the difference of right and wrong, and knew that a nation needs good morals.

Thanks, Nathan, for sharing your report with us!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Learn something new about Alexander Hamilton? Want to share some encouragement with Nathan? We look forward to your comments.